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Philip K. Dick (Writer)

Can any of us fix anything? No. None of us can do that. We're specialized. Each one of us has his own line, his own work. I understand my work, you understand yours. The tendency in evolution is toward greater and greater specialization. Man's society is an ecology that forces adaptation to it. Continued complexity makes it impossible for us to know anything outside our own personal field - I can't follow the work of the man sitting at the next desk over from me. Too much knowledge has piled up in each field. And there are too many fields.
Philip K. Dick knowledge
Doctor Labyrinth, like most people who read a great deal and who have too much time on their hands, had become convinced that our civilization was going the way of Rome. He saw, I think , the same cracks forming that had sundered the ancient world, the world of Greece and Rome; and it was his conviction that presently our world, our society, would pass away as theirs did, and a period of darkness would follow.
Philip K. Dick time
One long-past innocent day, in my prefolly youth, I came upon a statement in an undistinguished textbook on psychiatry that, as when Kant read Hume, woke me forever from my garden-of-eden slumber. "The psychotic does not merely think he sees four blue bivalves with floppy wings wandering up the wall; he does see them. An hallucination is not, strictly speaking, manufactured in the brain; it is received by the brain, like any 'real' sense datum, and the patient act in response to this to-him-very-real perception of reality in as logical a way as we do to our sense data. In any way to suppose he only 'thinks he sees it' is to misunderstand totally the experience of psychosis."
Philip K. Dick reality
Don't try to solve serious matters in the middle of the night.
Philip K. Dick night
In one of the most brilliant papers in the English language [David] Hume made it clear that what we speak of as 'causality' is nothing more than the phenomenon of repetition. When we mix sulphur with saltpeter and charcoal we always get gunpowder. This is true of every event subsumed by a causal law - in other words, everything which can be called scientific knowledge. "It is custom which rules," Hume said, and in that one sentence undermined both science and philosophy.
Philip K. Dick philosophy
I, for one, bet on science as helping us. I have yet to see how it fundamentally endangers us, even with the H-bomb lurking about. Science has given us more lives than it has taken; we must remember that.
Philip K. Dick science
Spinoza saw... that if a falling stone could reason, it would think, "I want to fall at the rate of thirty-two feet per second."
Philip K. Dick reason
My major preoccupation is the question, 'What is reality?' Many of my stories and novels deal with psychotic states or drug-induced states by which I can present the concept of a multiverse rather than a universe. Music and sociology are themes in my novels, also radical political trends; in particular I've written about fascism and my fear of it.
Philip K. Dick fear
People just have no criterion left to evaluate the importance of things. I think the only thing that would really affect people would be the announcement that the world was going to be blown up by the hydrogen bomb. I think that would really affect people. I think they would react to that. But outside of that, I don't think they would react to anything. "Peking has been wiped out by an earthquake, and the RTD -- the bus strike is still on." And some guy says, "Damnit! I'll have to walk to work!"
Philip K. Dick art
I think that, like in my writing, reality is always a soap bubble, Silly Putty thing anyway. In the universe people are in, people put their hands through the walls, and it turns out they're living in another century entirely. ... I often have the feeling -- and it does show up in my books -- that this is all just a stage.
Philip K. Dick writing
Giving me a new idea is like handing a cretin a loaded gun, but I do thank you anyhow, bang, bang.
Philip K. Dick you
All page numbers from the 2003 Vintage trade paperback edition
Philip K. Dick age
Ramp hawkers were peddling “methods,” low priced sure-fire theories guaranteed to predict bottle twitches and beat the whole Minimax game. The hawkers were ignored by the hurrying throngs of people; anybody with a genuine system of prediction would be using it, not selling it.
Philip K. Dick people
In the early twentieth century the problem of production had been solved; after that it was the problem of consumption that plagued society. In the 1950s and '60s, consumer commodities and farm products began to pile up in vast towering mountains all over the Western World. As much as possible was given away - but that threatened to subvert the open market. By 1980, the pro tem solution was to heap up the products and burn them: billions of dollars of worth, week after week.
Philip K. Dick society
Skill is a function of chance. It’s an intuitive best-use of chance situations.
Philip K. Dick fun
“But what are you supposed to do in a society that’s corrupt? Are you supposed to obey corrupt laws? Is it a crime to break a law that’s a rotten law, or an oath that’s rotten? “It’s a crime,” Cartwright admitted slowly. “But it may be the right thing to do.” “In a society of criminals,” Shaeffer offered, “the innocent man goes to jail.” “Who decides when the society is made up of criminals? Benteley demanded. “How do you know when your society has gone wrong? How do you know when it’s right to stop obeying the laws?” “You just know,” Rita O’Neill said fiercely.
Philip K. Dick art
“We should celebrate,” Rita said. “Yes. I'm where I wanted to be.” Benteley sipped the remains of his drink. “Working for the Directorate. Sworn in to the Quizmaster. That’s what I set out for, that day. It seems like a long time ago. Well, I've finally arrived.” He gazed down at his glass and was silent. “How do you feel?” “Not much different.”
Philip K. Dick time
I'm a sick man. And the more I see, the sicker I get. I'm so sick I think everybody else is sick and I'm the only healthy person. That's bad off, isn't it?
Philip K. Dick man
I'm a strange person. Sometimes I hardly know what I'm going to do or say next. Sometimes I seem a stranger to myself. Sometimes what I do surprises me and I can't understand why I do it.
Philip K. Dick time
Odd that the brain could function on its own, without acquainting him with its purposes, its reasons. But the brain was an organ, like the spleen, heart, kidneys. And they went about their private activities. So why not the brain?
Philip K. Dick art
An Irishman hears that the banks are failing. He runs into the bank where he keeps his money and demands every cent of it. 'Yes sir,' the teller says politely. 'Do you want it in cash or in the form of a check?' The Irishman replies: 'Well, if you have it, I don't want it. But if you haven't got it, I must have it immediately.'
Philip K. Dick money
All page numbers from the 2012 Mariner trade paperback edition
Philip K. Dick age
The hell with him, he thought bitterly. The hell with patriotism in general. In the specific and the abstract. Birds of a feather, soldiers and cops. Anti-intellectual and anti-Negro. Anti-everything except beer, dogs, cars and guns.
Philip K. Dick thought
“Cats have no souls,” Hamilton said morbidly, watching his tomcat avidly feed. “The most majestic cat in the universe would balance a carrot on his head for a bite of pork liver.”
Philip K. Dick soul
“Explain it,” Hamilton muttered. “This place—this bar. Why doesn’t God erase it? If this world operates by moral laws—” “This bar is necessary to the moral order. This is a sinkpit of corruption and vice, a fleshpot of iniquity. You think salvation can function without damnation? You think virtue can exist without sin? That’s the trouble with you atheists; you don’t grasp the mechanics of evil. Get on the inside and enjoy life, man. If you’re one of the Faithful, you’ve got nothing to worry about.” “Opportunist.” “Bet your sweet soul.”
Philip K. Dick life
“You know what you can buy at the supermarket?” Laws inquired acidly. “I’ll tell you. Canned burnt offerings.” “You know what you can buy at the hardware store?” Hamilton answered. “Scales to weigh your soul on.” “That’s silly,” the blond said petulantly. “A soul doesn’t have any weight.” “Then,” Hamilton reflected, “you could put one through the U. S. mail for nothing.” “How many souls,” Laws conjectured ironically, “can be fitted into one stamped envelope? New religious question. Split mankind in half. Warring factions. Blood running in the gutters.” “Ten,” Hamilton guessed. “Fourteen,” Laws contradicted. “Heretic. Baby-murdering monster.” “Bestial drinker of unpurified blood.” “Accursed spawn of filth-devouring evil.”
Philip K. Dick war
“Why?” Hamilton lashed out suddenly and loudly. “Why the hell did God answer that prayer? Why not some of the others? Why not Bill Laws’s?” “God approved of your prayer,” Silky said. “After all, it’s up to Him; He has to decide how He feels about it.” “That’s terrible.” Silky shrugged. “Maybe so.” “How can you live with that? You never know what’s going to happen—there’s no order, no logic.” It infuriated him that she did not object, that it seemed natural to her. “We’re helpless; we have to depend on whim. It keeps us from being people—we’re like animals waiting to be fed. Rewarded or punished.”
Philip K. Dick war
This time, there was no punishment from above. Sighing, Hamilton almost wished there had been; the capricious personality element infuriated him. There was just too little relationship between deed and punishment; the lightning was probably cutting down some totally innocent Cheyennite, on the far side of town.
Philip K. Dick time
The hymns were unfamiliar to him, but he quickly picked up the general beat. The hymns had a redundant simplicity; the same phrases and tones appeared and reappeared. The same monotonous ideas, repeated indefinitely. The appetite of (Tetragrammaton) was insatiable, he concluded. A childish, nebulous personality that required constant praise—and in the most obvious terms. Quick to anger, (Tetragrammaton) was equally quick to sink into euphoria, was eager and ready to lap up these blatant flatteries. A balance. A method of lulling the Deity. But what a delicate mechanism. Danger for everyone...The easily-aroused Presence that was always nearby. Always listening.
Philip K. Dick anger
“Time to get up,” he informed her. “Don’t you hear the Almighty bellowing in the living room?” “What’s he saying?” Marsha murmured crossly. “Nothing in particular. Repent or suffer eternal damnation. The usual tribal tub-thumping.”
Philip K. Dick art
In all possible universes, Monday was the same.
Philip K. Dick universe
“People like your wife are dangerous.” “Why?” Hamilton asked. “They don’t belong to any group. They fool around with everything. As soon as we turn our back—” “So you destroy them. You turn them over to the lunatic patriots.” “The lunatic patriots,” McFeyffe said, “we can understand. But not your wife. She signs Party peace petitions and she reads the Chicago Tribune. People like her—they’re more of a menace to Party discipline than any other bunch. The cult of individualism. The idealist with his own law, his own ethics. Refusing to accept authority. It undermines society. It topples the whole structure. Nothing lasting can be built on it. People like your wife just won’t take orders.”
Philip K. Dick art
I did not attend the services, because it seems to me, as Pythagoras says, the body is the tomb of the soul and that by being born a person has already begun to die.
Philip K. Dick soul
The hell with the newspapers. Nobody reads the letters to the editor column except the nuts. It's enough to get you down.
Philip K. Dick hell
What does it mean, insane? A legal definition. What do I mean? I feel it, see it, but what is it? It is something they do, something they are. It is their unconsciousness...Do they ignore parts of reality? Yes. But it is more. It is their plans...Their view; it is cosmic...They see through the here, the now, into the vast black deep beyond, the unchanging. And that is fatal to life. Because eventually there will be no life; there was once only the dust particles of space, the hot hydrogen gases, nothing more, and it will come again.
Philip K. Dick life
(Insanity) is not hubris, not pride; it is inflation of the ego to its ultimate - confusion between him who worships and that which is worshipped. Man has not eaten God; God has eaten man.
Philip K. Dick man
Perhaps if you know you are insane then you are not insane.
Philip K. Dick you
Whom the gods notice they destroy. Be small...and you will escape the jealousy of the great.
Philip K. Dick god
It's the fault of those physicists and that synchronicity theory, every particle being connected with every other; you can't fart without changing the balance in the universe. It makes living a funny joke with nobody around to laugh. I open a book and get a report on future events that even God would like to file and forget. And who am I? The wrong person; I can tell you that.
Philip K. Dick funny
Can anyone alter fate? All of us combined...or one great figure...or someone strategically placed, who happens to be in the right spot. Chance. Accident. And our lives, our world, hanging on it.
Philip K. Dick world
Little kids are that way; they feel if their parents aren't watching what they do then what they do isn't real.
Philip K. Dick parents
This is an artifact and that was a relic. This is alive in the now, whereas that merely remained.
Philip K. Dick art
Life is short. Art, or something not life, is long, stretching out endless, like concrete worm. Flat, white, unsmoothed by any passage over or across it. Here I stand. But no longer.
Philip K. Dick life
Are we to assist it in gaining power in order to save our lives? Is that the paradox of our earthly situation?
Philip K. Dick art
To save one life, Mr. Tagomi had to take two. The logical, balanced mind cannot make sense of that. A kindly man like Mr. Tagomi could be driven insane by the implications of such reality.
Philip K. Dick life
We have entered a Moment when we are alone. We cannot get assistance, as before. Well, Mr. Tagomi thought, perhaps that too is good. Or can be made good. One must still try to find the Way.
Philip K. Dick men
That is the artist's job: take mineral rock from dark silent earth, transform it into shining light-reflecting form from sky.
Philip K. Dick art
I feel the hot winds of karma driving me. Nevertheless I remain here. My training was correct: I must not shrink from the clear white light, for if I do, I will once more re-enter the cycle of birth and death, never knowing freedom, never obtaining release. The veil of maya will fall once more.
Philip K. Dick death
This hypnagogic condition. Attention-faculty diminished so that twilight state obtains; world seen merely in symbolic, archetypal aspect, totally confused with unconscious material.
Philip K. Dick world
I will never fully understand; that is the nature of such creatures. Or is this Inner Truth now, this that is happening to me? I will wait. I will see. Which it is. Perhaps it is both.
Philip K. Dick nature
Even if all life on our planet is destroyed, there must be other life somewhere which we know nothing of. It is impossible that ours is the only world; there must be world after world unseen by us, in some region or dimension that we simply do not perceive. Even though I can't prove that, even though it isn't logical - I believe it.
Philip K. Dick life
We do not have an ideal world, such as we would like, where morality is easy because cognition is easy. Where one can do right with no effort because he can detect the obvious.
Philip K. Dick world
(Hawthorne Abendsen) told us about our own world. This, what's around us now. He wants us to see it for what it is. And I do, and more so each moment.
Philip K. Dick men
You're killing yourself with cynicism. Your idols got taken away from you one by one and now you have nothing to give your love to.
Philip K. Dick love
[Fiction] Appeals to the base lusts that hide in everyone no matter how respectable on the surface.
Philip K. Dick respect
We can travel anywhere we want, even to other planets. And for what? To sit day after day, declining in morale and hope. Falling into an interminable ennui.
Philip K. Dick hope
Dilemma of a civilized man; body mobilized but danger obscure.
Philip K. Dick man
All page numbers from the 2002 Vintage trade paperback edition
Philip K. Dick age
“There’s a law,” Chuck said, “which I call Rittersdorf’s Third Law of Diminished Returns, which states that proportional to how long you hold a job you imagine that it has progressively less and less importance in the scheme of things.”
Philip K. Dick law
“How come you didn’t recognize me?” Hentman said crossly. “Aren’t I world-famous? Or maybe you don’t watch TV.”
Philip K. Dick world
Here, the enemy was not merely another group of human beings with a differing political persuasion; the enemy here was death.
Philip K. Dick death
But frankly—may I so speak?—your CIA people’s theory strikes me as a miserable bundle of random suspicions, a few separate facts strung together by an intricate structure of ad hoc theorizing, in which everyone is credited with enormous powers for intrigue. A much simpler view can be entertained with more common sense, and as a CIA employee you must be aware that, like all intelligence agencies, it lacks the faculty of common sense.
Philip K. Dick intelligence
Hands in his pockets he began to walk aimlessly down the sidewalk runnel. And, each minute, feeling more and more scared and desperate. Everything was falling apart around him. And he seemed helpless to halt the collapse; he could only witness it, completely impotent, snatched up and gripped by processes too powerful for him to understand.
Philip K. Dick art
You must beware of seeing malice behind accidental injury.
Philip K. Dick war
“Hasn’t all this taught you anything?” Annette asked Gabriel Baines as they waited for the simulacrum’s return and report. “Like what?” “That there is no perfect defense. There is no protection. Being alive means being exposed; it’s the nature of life to be hazardous—it’s the stuff of living.
Philip K. Dick life
Insanity - to have to construct a picture of one's life, by making inquiries of others.
Philip K. Dick life
Adapted into the 1982 film . All page numbers from the 1996 Del Rey trade paperback edition
Philip K. Dick age
No one today remembered why the war had come about or who, if anyone, had won. The dust which had contaminated most of the planet’s surface had originated in no country, and no one, even the wartime enemy, had planned on it.
Philip K. Dick war
“Everything is true”, he said. “Everything anybody has ever thought.”
Philip K. Dick thought
For Mercer everything is easy, he thought, because Mercer accepts everything. Nothing is alien to him. But what I’ve done, he thought; that’s become alien to me. In fact everything has become unnatural; I’ve become an unnatural self.
Philip K. Dick self
“Maybe I shouldn’t have told you—about it being electrical.” She put her hand out, touched his arm; she felt guilty, seeing the effect it had on him, the change. ”No,” Rick said. “I’m glad to know. Or rather—” He became silent. “I’d prefer to know.”
Philip K. Dick change
The electric things have their life too. Paltry as those lives are.
Philip K. Dick life
All page numbers from the 1991 Vintage trade paperback edition
Philip K. Dick age
“Is it my fault?” Joe said. “Did I make that quarter you gave me obsolete?” He felt anger. “In some weird way,” Al said, “yes, it is your fault. But I don’t know how. Maybe one day I’ll figure it out.”
Philip K. Dick art
“A philosophical problem of no importance or meaning,” Joe said. “And incapable of being proved one way or the other.”
Philip K. Dick meaning
He now set down all the communications apparatus, rose stiffly from the chair and momentarily stood facing the misty, immobile, icebound shape of Joe Chip resting within its transparent plastic casket. Upright and silent, as it would be for the rest of eternity.
Philip K. Dick men
A novel about colonists to Delmak-O, all seemingly mentally ill and suspicious of each other. One of Dick's weirder and darker novels.
Philip K. Dick men
Forty-two. His age had astounded him for years, and each time that he had sat so astounded, trying to figure out what had become of the young, slim man in his twenties, a whole additional year slipped by and had to be recorded, a continually growing sum which he could not reconcile with his self-image. He still saw himself, in his mind's eye, as youthful, and when he caught sight of himself in photographs he usually collapsed ... Somebody took my actual physical presence away and substituted this, he had thought from time to time. Oh well, so it went.
Philip K. Dick time
All page numbers from the 1993 Vintage trade paperback edition
Philip K. Dick age
She did not really want to know; she believed she understood already.
Philip K. Dick believe
He could not endure what he found himself going through, and he could not get away. It seemed to him as if he sat behind the tiller of his custom-made unique quibble, facing a red light, green light, amber light all at once; no rational response was possible. Her irrationality made it so. The terrible power, he thought, of illogic. Of the archetypes. Operating out of the drear depths of the collective unconscious which joined him and her — and everyone else — together. In a knot which could never be undone, so long as they lived. No wonder, he thought, some people, many people, long for death.
Philip K. Dick death
Am I being paid back for something I did? He asked himself. Something I don't know about or remember? But nobody pays back, he reflected. I learned that a long time ago: you're not paid back for the bad you do nor the good you do. It all comes out uneven at the end. Haven’t I learned that by now, if I've learned anything?
Philip K. Dick time
Once they notice you, Jason realized, they never completely close the file. You can never get back your anonymity. It is vital not to be noticed in the first place.
Philip K. Dick you
The church of my choice is the free, open world.
Philip K. Dick world
Probably she should not have gotten away with it for as long as she had...but sometime, he had often thought, the retribution will come: reality denied comes back to haunt.
Philip K. Dick time
“Fear,” Jason said, “can make you do more wrong than hate or jealousy. If you're afraid you don’t commit yourself to life completely; fear makes you always, always hold something back.”
Philip K. Dick life
To live is to be hunted.
Philip K. Dick live
“Are you an official of some kind? Like a greeter? Or from the L. A. Chamber of Commerce? I've had dealings with them and they’re all right.” “No,” Buckman said. “I'm an individual. Like you.”
Philip K. Dick man
Robert Arctor halted. Stared at them, at the straights in their fat suits, their fat ties, their fat shoes, and he thought, Substance D can’t destroy their brains; they have none.
Philip K. Dick thought
Life in Anaheim, California, was a commercial for itself, endlessly replayed. Nothing changed; it just spread out farther and farther in the form of neon ooze. What there was always more of had been congealed into permanence long ago, as if the automatic factory that cranked out these objects had jammed in the on position.
Philip K. Dick art
“Sometimes I wish I knew how to go crazy. I forget how.” “It’s a lost art,” Hank said. “Maybe there’s an instruction manual on it.”
Philip K. Dick time
That life had been one without excitement, with no adventure. It had been too safe. All the elements that made it up were right there before his eyes, and nothing new could ever be expected. It was like, he had once thought, a little plastic boat that would sail on forever, without incident, until it finally sank, which would be a secret relief to all.
Philip K. Dick life
In this dark world where he now dwelt, ugly things and surprising things and once in a long while a tiny wondrous thing spilled out at him constantly; he could count on nothing.
Philip K. Dick world
One of the most effective forms of industrial or military sabotage limits itself to damage that can never be thoroughly proven—or even proven at all—to be anything deliberate. It is like an invisible political movement; perhaps it isn’t there at all. If a bomb is wired to a car’s ignition, then obviously there is an enemy; if public building or a political headquarters is blown up, then there is a political enemy. But if an accident, or a series of accidents, occurs, if equipment merely fails to function, if it appears faulty, especially in a slow fashion, over a period of natural time, with numerous small failures and misfirings—then the victim, whether a person or a party or a country, can never marshal itself to defend itself.
Philip K. Dick time
If I had known it was harmless I would have killed it myself.
Philip K. Dick self
Where there’s dope, there’s hope!
Philip K. Dick hope
What does a scanner see? he asked himself. I mean, really see? Into the head? Down into the heart? Does a passive infrared scanner like they used to use or a cube-type holo-scanner like they use these days, the latest thing, see into me—into us—clearly or darkly? I hope it does, he thought, see clearly, because I can’t any longer these days see into myself. I see only murk. Murk outside; murk inside. I hope, for everyone’s sake, the scanners do better. Because, he thought, if the scanner sees only darkly, the way I myself do, then we are cursed, cursed again and like we have been continually, and we’ll wind up dead this way, knowing very little and getting that little fragment wrong too.
Philip K. Dick hope
Any given man sees only a tiny portion of the total truth, and very often, in fact almost...perpetually, he deliberately deceives himself about that precious little fragment as well.
Philip K. Dick truth
It’s a downer to tell anything to a kid. I once had a kid ask me, “What was it like to see the first automobile?” Shit, man, I was born in 1962.
Philip K. Dick man
The unconscious is selective, when it learns what to listen for.
Philip K. Dick learn

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