A Maze of Death

A Maze of Death
By Philip K. Dick

Existential/absurdist drama meets And Then There Were None and/or Lord of the Flies. Or were such sources all that different in the first place?

Philip K. Dick seems to have been a pretty horrible person, but I do love his books. They’re provocative and playful at the same time. The philosophical point being entertained here has to do with reality being a shared dream, though at least in this case one that involves some human agency. Technology helps make the dream real, and we’re not far removed from the kind of thing we’d be fed on the big screen a quarter-century later in what I’ve called elsewhere the Year of the Simulacrum (that would be 1998 and The Matrix, Dark City, and The Truman Show). Being ahead of the curve this far is what gets an author a reputation for being a prophet.

That agency I mentioned is of little comfort to the dreamers, who wake from their collective nightmare to a reality even worse than that of being hunted like rats in a maze, a maze from which death is the only escape. Put another way: hell is other people, but what else gives life meaning? Share a nightmare then, or go sadly forth to meet the Truth by oneself in “emptiness, meaninglessness, and solitude”? What a choice to have to make! Better to have never been born.

3 thoughts on “A Maze of Death

  1. Your last sentence reminds me of the third chapter from the book of Job (pronounced Joeb just in case you’re not familiar). He’s lamenting that he was ever born and wishes he had died at birth.

    I’ve never been a fan of Dick’s because his “philosophies” tend to be new age drivel fueled by drugs. There’s just no other way to say it, hahahaa.

    Do you think you’ll go on and read more by him?


    1. Most definitely! I’ve always enjoyed his writing. I actually think his speculations go beyond the usual New Age claptrap. They deal with universal themes, and in original ways. His personal life was a mess for sure though.

      Liked by 1 person

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